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School of Social Sciences

Applying for a master's

Handy tips on how to write your personal statement and apply for a master's course with us.

There are two ways you can apply for a master's at The University of Manchester:

  • Apply online.
  • If you are a current University of Manchester student, apply via the Fast-Track Scheme. You need to email pg-soss@manchester.ac.uk with your personal details (full name, current undergraduate course and student ID number), along with the name of the School of Social Sciences course you wish to be considered for (ie MSc Economics). Where possible, we will make you a conditional offer for your chosen master's course.

As well as the online application form, we will need some supporting information:

  • copies of degree certificates and transcripts;
  • IELTS/TOEFL certificate (if you are not a native English speaker).

Optional documents are:

  • CV;
  • personal statement (compulsory if applying for the MA in Visual Anthropology);
  • references. 

Please note that references are not compulsory at the initial application stage, but we do require that you include the names and contact details of two academic referees on your application form. If we require references we will contact them directly.

Ensure that you check the specific course details for further information on what documents are required for your course.

Find out about our fees and current funding opportunities for masters courses.

How to write a personal statement

A personal statement is only compulsory if you're applying for the MA in Visual Anthropology. However, you might still like to submit one if applying to another master's course.

Your personal statement should give convincing reasons why you want to do the course and why you're a suitable applicant. 

Your interests

State why the subject interests you, and the areas of study within the subject you find particularly interesting.

Demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm by specifying fields of interest within the subject area and talk about them in detail (For example, if you know that within economics you would like to focus on microeconomics or econometrics).

Your evidence and academic credentials

Explain what drives your interests and provide strong evidence to back up your claims. For example, include authors you admire, theories or problems that interest you, conferences you have attended, or relevant work experience.

If you are applying to a conversion course or if your undergraduate degree is not directly related to the master's course, it is important to demonstrate your commitment.

Will you cope with the academic rigours of the course? Tutors will want to know and will consider:

  • the level of your degree;
  • final classification or average grade;
  • the standing of the institution where you are studying or have studied.

Many applicants will have similar academic backgrounds to you. So, if you have achieved anything that makes you stand out, mention it in your application (eg a particularly high mark, an award for academic achievement, or a prize for project work).

Your skills and experience

Look closely at the course details and pick out key skills and knowledge required. Then use specific examples from your academic studies, work experience or extra-curricular/practical experiences to show what makes you a good candidate. Your relevant experience is important.

Explain your skills in detail - don't assume the admissions tutor will understand your capabilities just by reading the title of your final year project. If relevant, explain:

  • specific hard and soft skills gained;
  • research methods used;
  • techniques you are familiar with;
  • equipment, resources, or software packages used;
  • why you find the course particularly attractive.

Don't forget to tailor your statement to the course you are applying for.

Writing tips

  • Start positively - grab the reader's attention.
  • Keep your comments brief and focused.
  • Put the most important information first; don’t save your best selling points until last.
  • Plan a basic outline first and think about how many words you want to use for each section.
  • Use your statement to show that you can structure your thoughts and write coherently; each topic must lead logically onto the next.
  • Check your information, for example, make sure you haven't asked for supervisors that no longer work for the University.
  • Stick to the word limit if applicable.

Contact us

Postgraduate Admissions Team
School of Social Sciences
Email: pg-soss@manchester.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)161 275 4471 or +44 (0)161 275 1296